Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



After performing in silent films, Louie LeClaire and wife established a ranch in Simnasho.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BOWMAN MUSEUM - Louie LeClaire, whose mother was a member of the Paiute tribe, acted with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show tour, and was also in silent films in the early days of Hollywood. He later established a ranch near Simnasho.Louie LeClaire was born on June 16, 1881, near Burns. His mother was a Paiute Indian and his father was a Canadian.

When he was a young man, he joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. He rode bucking horses and took the stage name of "White Wolf." He recalled working with Annie Oakley and claimed her legend as a shooter was well-deserved.

LeClaire also stated that Buffalo Bill trained buffalos used in the act so that they would fall over as if they had been shot whenever he fired his rifle.

When the show went to Liverpool, England, LeClaire became ill, so he and two other performers came back to the States. The three decided to take a chance in the blossoming film industry in Hollywood, California. They went to work at Biograph Studios, and performed in several silent motion pictures.

LeClaire played mostly Indian parts, but once performed as a British officer. He was familiar with silent movie stars Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson, and recalled that Gibson could not ride a horse and often fell off his horse during filming.

He remained in the movie business for several years. He married Delia (Della) Meanus and they moved to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and established a ranch near Simnasho. Their son, Louis LeClaire Jr., was born there in 1934, and their daughter, Barbara, was born in 1943. His son, Junior, performed as a double for Sal Mineo in the movie "Tonka," which was filmed in Central Oregon in 1959.

LeClaire and his wife raised horses on their ranch on the Warm Springs Reservation. He was an active horseman and frequently rode the range on the reservation.

LeClaire died on Feb. 16, 1962. His services were held at the Warm Springs Presbyterian Church and he was interred in the Tenino Cemetery on the reservation.

Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine